PORTLAND — A coronavirus variant first detected in India has been discovered in Maine.
Only one case of the B.1.617.2 variant has been found so far in York County, the Maine CDC said.
While health officials here consider it a ‘variant of interest’, Public Health England recently reclassified B.1.617.2 as a ‘variant of concern’ because it has an estimated rate of transmissibility at least as high as that of the B.1.1.7 (UK) variant. In late March, the National Institutes of Health said the UK variant likely accounted for at least one-third of all cases in the U.S. at the time.
Variants of concern have increased transmission rates and have increased severity of disease based on hospitalization and case fatality rates, according to the Maine CDC. These variants could evade natural or vaccine-induced immunity.
So far, 11 types of variants have been discovered in Maine COVID cases. Most have been the UK. variant.
The news comes as the Maine CDC reports three more deaths from the coronavirus. There are 175 new known cases.